Sideways: According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sideways has taken another step forward with critics, winning top honors from the New York Film Critics Online. The group named the comedy, about mismatched best friends on a wine-tasting road trip, as the year's best film Saturday. Two of the movie's stars, Thomas Haden Church and Virginia Madsen, won the supporting acting categories. Jamie Foxx was named best actor for his uncanny portrayal of Ray Charles in Ray, and Imelda Staunton won the best-actress award for playing a housekeeper who secretly performs abortions in 1950s England in Vera Drake. Martin Scorsese was named the top director for the Howard Hughes epic The Aviator, and Charlie Kaufman won screenplay honors for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, about a lovelorn man who wants to erase his ex-girlfriend from his memory.
In addition, the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. on Saturday hailed Fox Searchlight's Sideways as its favorite film of the year. The film collected five awards, including Virginia Madsen and Thomas Hayden Church as best supporting actress and best supporting actor. Payne, who two years ago claimed the L.A. Film Critics' best picture prize for About Schmidt, was honored as best director and shared the best screenplay award with his longtime collaborator, Jim Taylor, for their adaptation of a novel by Rex Pickett. The critics chose Liam Neeson as best actor for his performance as the redoubtable sex researcher Alfred Kinsey in Bill Condon's biopic Kinsey. The runner-up was Paul Giamatti from Sideways. Imedla Staunton was named best actress for the role as a working-class mum and backroom abortionist in 1950s Britain in Mike Leigh's Vera Drake. Julie Delpy came in second in voting for Before Sunset.